Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

Economics & Christian Ethics, pt. 3

Christian Perspectives on Rival Economic Ideologies.


Copeland, Warren R. Economic Justice: The Social Ethics of U.S. Economic Policy. Abingdon Press, 1988.

Copeland, who has degrees in both economics and social ethics, has been a United Church of Christ pastor, a Mayor of a small Ohio town, and a religion professor at Wittenberg University. He notes that most Americans (along with most Christians) hold to 3 major values that impact how they view economic issues: Individual Liberty; Equality; and Community or Solidarity. A Laissez-faire capitalism (e.g., Milton Friedman) values individual liberty above all else; Keynesian or Social-Market Capitalism (e.g., Lester Thurow) place primary value on equality, especially equality of opportunity; Democratic Socialists (e.g., Michael Harrington), place primary emphasis on community/solidarity. Copeland also tries to see what economic policy would like that valued all three perspectives. He also gives a sustained critique of Reaganomics.Owensby, Walter L. Economics for Prophets. Eerdmans, 1988. A primer on U.S. economic concepts, realities, and values for ministers, lay-leaders, and other faith-based critics.

Wogaman, J. Philip. The Great Economic Debate: An Ethical Analysis. Westminster Press, 1977.

Similar in style to Copeland, Wogaman includes a wider array of options. After examining (and rejecting) the common claim that economics is a neutral science where values do not matter (claims made in different ways by capitalists like Friedman and by old school, dogmatic Marxists), Wogaman surveys the pro and con cases for Marxism, Laissez-faire Capitalism, Social-Market Capitalism (mixed economies), Democratic Socialism, and Economic Conservationism (Green economics).


August 3, 2006 - Posted by | discipleship, economic justice, ethics


  1. Premise: Discipline on Nation-State Printing of Fiat Money Based on Debt is a MORAL ISSUE

    Motivations and inherent learning process for nonviolence are usually based on a MORAL OBLIGATION OF CONSCIENCE which derives the rightness or wrongness of a situation from the nature of its social effects, especially those threatening life. An action is “right” if it is in accordance with a moral rule or principle.

    Such principle-based social change movements can differ from consequentialism in which ends can justify the means or virtue ethics, the sort of thing a virtuous person would do in the situation.

    Comment by Ray Foss | June 29, 2007

  2. […] Economics and Christian Ethics 3: Rival Economic Ideologies […]

    Pingback by Economics and Christian Ethics: Bibliographic Essays « Levellers | April 15, 2009

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